After you return home from your total knee replacement, you’ll need a little extra help. In fact, the first two months are tough for most due to pain and limited mobility. Expect to have difficulty walking around, fixing meals, and doing a lot of the things you may take for granted. The following tips will help you make the transition easier.
1. Stairs will be tough to manage. Until you get enough motion and strength back into your leg, you’ll walk up and down stairs one leg at a time. If you have stairs, set up a space downstairs so you don’t have to navigate the stairs until you are ready.
2. Clear a path. Remove throw rug, cords and other potential safety hazards from traffic areas. Your balance will be effected after a total knee replacement and the last thing you want is to take a fall.
3. Stock up on staples. Make sure you have enough staples on hand so you don’t need to go to the store for the first few weeks. Keep them at waist level so you don’t have to bend down into a cupboard to get them. It’s also helpful to stock the freezer with planned leftovers so you don’t have to worry about meals.
4. Set up a comfortable recovery station. Since you won’t be very mobile right away, you’ll want to set up a an area where you can hang out. Keep a basket of supplies within arm’s reach such as tissues, reading glasses, the TV remote, books, magazines, water, snacks or a laptop.
5. Get necessary equipment. There is a lot of adaptive equipment that will make your transition easier and safer. Safety bars on showers, tubs and stairs are important. Sock aids and long handled shoe horns can make it easier to put on your shoes and socks. A grabber or reacher can help make it easier to pick up small objects off the ground after your total knee replacement.
Planning Your Total Knee Replacement Recovery
Make sure you plan your total knee replacement surgery during a time you have support from friends and family. Even if you are active and fit, recovery takes time. It’s not like getting new tires on your car, where you drive away feeling great. Most people are just beginning to feel happy about their progress about the two month mark. Part of the recovery includes physical therapy to regain the motion and strength of your leg. If you have questions, call us to speak to one of our physical therapists.